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Home  >  Features  >  Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: July 20, 2016

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After a small hiatus Number One Bullets it back and playing a bit of catch up. This week we take a look at HORIZON #1, THROWAWAYS #1, THE HUNT #1, SNOT GIRL #1, JUSTICE LEAGUE #1, BLACK HAMMER #1, RED TEAM: DOUBLE TAP CENTER MASS #1, BATGIRL AND THE BIRDS OF PREY: REBIRTH #1, and HELLBLAZER: REBIRTH #1.

 

 

HORIZON #1 (Image Comics)-

4.0 Stars

Author Brandon Thomas flips the script on the alien invasion story with the launch of HORIZON #1 from Image Comics. In his letter to fans at the end of the issue Thomas holds no punches in his rather pessimistic view of humanity and how we have treated each other and our planet. The author uses this trend of draining resources and then moving on to the next one and extrapolates it further to suggest that once humanity has used up Earth it will set its sights on another planet. Zhia Malen of the planet Valius has seen this pattern and goes to Earth to stop the invasion of her world before it can begin. Unfortunately little of this overall plot is conveyed through the story. The first half of the issue is nearly silent as we follow Zhia's crash landing on Earth and her attempt to get her bearings and repair the crash damage her neural computer suffered. Only in the last few pages when she meets up with a fellow undercover agent on our world does the story begin to flesh out. Even then when she is discussing the her targets must not be allowed to leave Earth and start the cycle of destruction again it is not really clear who she is referring to. In fact, without the letter from the author I would have no real idea of the plot of this comic from just reading the first issue. The art by Juan Gedeon is heavily stylized and sketchy but it works for this science fiction near future setting. I really enjoy the idea behind HORIZON as a series and look forward to how it plays out but the first issue does suffer as a stand alone read. I would recommend it to fans of science fiction and advise all readers to read the letter from the author at the end of the book before they start the story.

 

THROWAWAYS #1 (Image Comics)-

3.0 Stars.gif

Another new series launched from Image Comics this month with THROWAWAYS #1 from Caitlin Kittredge and Steven Sanders. The CIA uses the term throwaways to describe disposable agents who can be activated and then disavowed after completing a mission. This first issue is steeped in double agents, government conspiracy, and CIA black ops projects. Dean Logan is a young man with a checkered past and seemingly under surveillance from everyone. Abby Palmer is a former soldier who has been programmed by a CIA black ops division to activate on command and carry out an assassination. When these two cross paths all hell breaks loose and a line of dead bodies is left in their wake. THROWAWAYS #1 is a fun thrill ride of a comic that feels like a Jason Bourne movie complete with shady government agencies and action packed shootouts. The art by Sanders features great character work but lacks background detail. Most panels are very zoomed in and the backgrounds that are featured are often just a flat color with no textures. I neither loved nor hated this issue, it just kinda falls into that grey area of an average comic with a cool idea but nothing in the first issue grabbed me enough to ensure I will be coming back for more. Fans of spy thrillers might want to check this one out to see what they think but I would advise most readers to hold off and see if the book gains traction.

 

THE HUNT #1 (Image Comics)-

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Writer and artist Colin Lorimer has delivered a hauntingly beautiful book that mixes Irish mythology and horror in THE HUNT #1 from Image Comics. Teenager Orla Roche has been seeing visions all her life ever since she walked in on a strange spirit consuming the soul of her dying father. Isolated, bullied, and institutionalized Orla has grown distant from both friends and family and now only finds solace in drawing that which she alone can see. While those around her continue to believe she is just suffering from a traumatic incident it becomes clear that these visions are real and Orla is indeed in contact with an ancient power. THE HUNT #1 was an amazing read and a really powerful first issue. I loved every aspect of this book. Orla herself is instantly endearing and the cast that surrounds her is effortlessly fleshed out in a very short amount of time. Lorimer's art is absolutely fantastic in both its detail and the creepy tone. Beautiful character art accompanies a dark and spooky small Irish town setting and it is all capped off with truly horrific depictions of the strange creatures that live on the edge of our reality. THE HUNT #1 was one of those books that I knew nothing about when I opened it and by the time I closed the last page I was eagerly anticipating issue number two. If you have any interest in horror tales or folklore do yourself a favor and check this book out, I promise it will not disappoint.

 

SNOT GIRL #1 (Image Comics)-

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Author Bryan Lee O'Malley of Scott Pilgrim fame is taking a new direction with his latest ongoing series from Image Comics; SNOT GIRL #1. Lottie Person is a young fashion blogger in New York City. She is beautiful, outgoing, confident, and on top of the world. Or is she? Behind closed doors she pines over a lost boyfriend, laments her absent friends, and battles crippling allergies that cause her nose to run uncontrollably. This dichotomy comes to a head when she meets a young women who encapsulates everything she wants to be. Lottie is both endearing and frustrating as a main character but you cannot help but fall in love with her. Her insecurities are real while at the same time exaggerated to make them almost adorable. There is no way to read this book and not smile and root for her all the way to the last page when everything comes crashing down and this fun lighthearted titles takes a rather grim turn. The pencils by Leslie Hung are great and contain just enough of an anime influence to convey the over the top emotions of a cast of young women without dipping into the absurd. In the end SNOT GIRL #1 is a really good comic that is absolutely not for me. I am glad I read it, the art is beautiful, and the characters are charming and funny but I have no interest in continuing the story. This is a book everyone will be talking about so grab the first issue and judge it for yourself. Whether you love it or not you will be glad you at least checked it out.

 

JUSTICE LEAGUE #1 (DC Comics)-

2.0 Stars.gif

After the incredibly disappointing JUSTICE LEAGUE: REBIRTH issue from earlier this month I still had high hopes that DC Comics could quickly course correct with Tony Daniel taking over on art, unfortunately that was not the case. Bryan Hitch will always hold a place in my heart for his art in The Ultimates and The Authority but his latest attempts and penning his own words has fallen flat. This first issue of his new run on Justice League is full of wall to wall action and set pieces but there is very little story to tie it all together. Readers are introduced to The Kindred, another alien race that seems hellbent on destroying the Earth. Whether or not this new threat ties in to the Reapers from the Rebirth issue it still to be seen but in either case it is just another faceless threat with no real weight or personal involvement from the team. Thankfully Tony Daniel has stepped in on art to save us from a repeat of the horrible art in the Rebirth issue. Hitch is still writing for the widescreen style that he so famously created back with his earlier work and Daniel is up to the task. While the book might be lacking any real depth in story or character it is definitely pretty to look at. The DC Rebirth event has been really successful so far so it is a shame to see it stumble with their flagship team book. With all the other titles being so strong this seems like an easy one to skip.

 

BLACK HAMMER #1 (Dark Horse Comics)-

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Author Jeff Lemire brings his latest comic series to Dark Horse Comics with BLACK HAMMER #1. Abraham Slam led a group of superheroes in the defense of spiral city and they all vanished without a trace over 10 years ago. However they were not killed but instead transported to a rural town that they cannot escape from. For the last ten years each member has been doing their best to adapt to this new life and some have failed completely. Lemire's Justice League analog is an interesting group of characters including the iconic hero, the shape shifting warrior from another world, the young girl who becomes an adult superhero, the robot, the angel of death, and the space adventurer. BLACK HAMMER #1 grabbed me on two fronts. The first is the mystery of how the team got where they are and what is keeping them there and the second is the great character work found in watching these people and how they confront their new reality. Some have embraced it, others flat out reject it, and some have become lost in their endless pursuits to escape. The book has a very somber tone but even so it was a great page turner and I found myself sucked in immediately. The art by Dean Ormston is really well done and during flashbacks he switches to a style reminiscent of golden age comics in both his pencils and the use of flat colors and simple backgrounds. Only one issue in and this is some of the best work Lemire has done. To get so much character development for seven individuals in only 28 pages while at the same time setting up a compelling mystery is no small feat. I think this is one of those books everyone will enjoy so go check it out if you have not yet.

 

RED TEAM: DOUBLE TAP CENTER MASS #1 (Dynamite Entertainment)-

3.0 Stars.gif

This month Dynamite Entertainment releases RED TEAM: DOUBLE TAP CENTER MASS #1 by Garth Ennis and Craig Cermak. This is the sequel to the police thriller that left only two members of the original Red Team alive, Eddie Melinger and Trudy Giroux. The two are now kept under a watchful eye after their case in the first volume of RED TEAM drew them well outside the boundaries of the law. When a routine surveillance job randomly leads to the arrest of a wealthy banker's son with two dead gangsters in his trunk the pair of cops find themselves skirting the thin line of ethics once again. As a big fan of the work Ennis has done over the years this series falls right into the middle ground between some of his best and some of his not quite best. Eddie and Trudy have great chemistry and both are character you want to root for. They are flawed and make bad decisions but that is what makes them fun. The smug rich kid with daddy's lawyer on speed dial is exactly the kind of person you love to hate and he is despicable right from the start. The pencils by Craig Cermak work really well for a comic set in the 'real world' but there is something really strange about the lips and jawlines of all this characters. They never seem to move and through the entire issue emotion is hard to tell via the art because the only emotional variation comes from the eyes. It is not a complete deal breaker but it does bring the art down a bit. This first issue was a fun introduction two likable characters who before long will no doubt end up in loads of trouble from both sides of the law. It has a very buddy cop feel to it so if that is your thing or if you are just another fan of Garth Ennis then check this second volume out.

 

BATGIRL AND THE BIRDS OF PREY: REBIRTH #1 (DC Comics)-

4.0 Stars.gif

Another week and another return to form for the characters in DC Comics' BATGIRL AND THE BIRDS OF PREY: REBIRTH. Co-authors Julie and Shawna Benson use this one shot as a way to bring readers up to speed on Batgirl, Black Canary, and Huntress. This issue serves to both re-establish the pre-new 52 history of these characters as well as include their recent adventures thus folding both timelines into one coherent plotline so that new readers can move forward free of unneeded multiverse baggage. We get a fast paced glimpse of Barbara Gordon's past including her time training as Batgirl, The Killing Joke incident, Oracle, and her post surgery resurgence. Black Canary is giving a similar treatment but Huntress is strangely left out in the cold. The antagonist that brings the three together is an as yet unknown hacker going by Barbara's old codename of Oracle. This has obviously hit Barbara the hardest and she inevitably leans on her friends for support to find out who would be so bold as to use her past against her and steal her former identify. The story is well told and it was nice to see a solid yet brief retelling of Batgirl's past. Barbara's voice was spot on as was Black Canary's, the only question concerns the past of the Huntress who saw a major revamp in the new 52 reboot but only time will tell how that shakes out in the end. The art by Claire Roe features great panel work, action, and style but on the other hand displays some really horrible character faces. They are just ugly and not fun to look at. Overall it was another incredibly solid entry into the Rebirth line and for this long time DC Comics reader it was another return to form featuring the history of characters I have been reading for years. At only $2.99 and issue it is safe to say this Rebirth one shot issue are a must read for any and all comic book fans so skip one Red Bull purchase and give this issue a shot!

 

HELLBLAZER: REBIRTH #1 (DC Comics)-

5.0 Stars.gif

The DC Comics Rebirth event has had a focus of bringing characters back to their more traditional roles and HELLBLAZER: REBIRTH #1 is no exception. Written by Simon Oliver with art by Moritat, HELLBLAZER: REBIRTH #1 brings John Constantine back to London where he belongs. Not only that but he is reunited with his friend and driver Chaz as well as his signature snark and a long missed pack of silk cuts. This is the Constantine Garth Ennis brought to popularity and this is the Constantine the comic book world has been missing in the new 52 universe. The Rebirth one shot finds John up to his old tricks, he is gambling the entire population of London against his own soul in a game of chicken with a demon. A bit of magic, some slight of hand, and a does of 'all right squire' and I am back in the classic Hellblazer comic I have been missing for so long. This is everything I wanted when the new 52 promised John Constantine was coming into the main line DC Comics universe. The art from Moritat is good if not great. The facial expressions are the real highlight and if nothing else his art really sells John Constantine as the slimy double crosser that he is. I loved this book and any old school Hellblazer fans should give it a shot, even if it is just this one issue to see if it hits them the same way it hit me.

 

Don't just take our word for it. Grab the books yourself and let us know what you think!

 

 

 

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